arpanetwirelessinternet.jpg The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was developed by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA/DARPA) of the U.S. Department of Defense during the 1960's for improved communications. The stated goal of the ARPANET project (and the reason it originally received military funding) was to create a network with no central broadcasting centre, a network that could survive nuclear attack. In reality, the project was academic and research oriented from the beginning, and was much more about creating a system that could survive the unreliability of the switching nodes and network links at the time. ARPANET was an incredibly important step in the creation of the internet. It ushered in the IP and TCP protocols, which later became standard all over the world. It also departed from the plans of technology companies of the day, which were quite happy to sell proprietary networking hardware and software for exorbitant prices to large corporations and the military. It is unknown if the internet would exist today as the worldwide network it currently is without ARPANET.


ARPANET was the brainchild of Robert W. Taylor, J. Licklider, and Ivan Sutherland. It is important to note that universities at the time were already networked to some extent, but only directly by specific computers. When asked where he got the idea, Taylor mentioned that "if I was talking online with someone at S.D.C. and I wanted to talk to someone I knew at Berkeley or M.I.T. about this, I had to get up from the S.D.C. terminal, go over and log into the other terminal and get in touch with them. I said, oh, man, it's obvious what to do: If you have these three terminals, there ought to be one terminal that goes anywhere you want to go where you have interactive computing. That idea is the ARPAnet."

Though conceived and pushed heavily by these individuals, the effort required to create such a structure was massive, and required many teams of dedicated workers.

The backbone of the ARPANET originally consisted of packet-switching computers called IMPs (Interface Message Processors). They were connected by 56KB/s lines, an unheard of speed at the time. Conventional computers were then connected to these IMP nodes. The first ARPANET computer was connected in 1969 to ARPANET's IMP node at UCLA. The next computer went online at the Stanford Research Institute(SRI) followed by UCSB and the University of Utah, all of which were supported by the United States Department of Defense. Despite the fact that the computers were running different operating systems they were able to talk to each other across the newly formed network with equal status. In the 1970's, ARPANET was expanded to the larger colleges and universities. By March 1977 there were 111 computers on ARPANET. By 1983, the project had really shown it's public face and the military split off all of its networks from the ARPANET computers, creating MILNET. This later became the DoD defense data network. The split allowed ARPANET to further turn to an unclassified network. By 1990 ARPANET was finally dissolved, it's resources allocated to NSFNET (the National Science Foundation Network), a parallel networking system for universities connected to and originally based on ARPANET protocols. Through this organization, the internet was commercialized and allowed to expand exponentially.

Important Milestones and the Eventual Demise of ARAPNET

Milestones. Some of the milestones in the early history of the ARPANET are summarized below:
  • East Coast. In March, 1970, the consulting company Bolt, Beranek & Newman joined the ARPANET, becoming the first ARPANET node on the US east coast.
  • Remote Access. In September, 1971, the first Terminal Interface Processor (TIP) was deployed, enabling individual computer terminals to dial directly into the ARPANET, thereby greatly increasing the ease of network connections and leading to significant growth.
  • 1972. By the end of 1972 there were 24 sites on the ARPANET, including the Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the Federal Reserve Board.
  • 1973. By the end of 1973 there were 37 sites on the ARPANET, including a satellite link from California to Hawaii. Also in 1973, the University College of London in England and the Royal Radar Establishment in Norway become the first international connections to the ARPANET.
  • 1974. In June, 1974, there were 62 computers connected to the ARPANET.
  • 1977. In March, 1977, there were 111 computers on the ARPANET.
  • 1983. In 1983, an unclassified military only network called MILNET split off from the ARPANET, remaining connected only at a small number of gateways for exchange of electronic mail that could be easily disconnected for security reasons if required. MILNET later become part of the DoD Defense Data Network, or DDN.
  • 1985. By the middle of the 80's there were ARPANET gateways to external networks across North America, Europe, and in Australia, and the Internet was global in scope. Marty Lyons has linked a map of the existing network gateways on 18 June 1985 on his Publications page under Primary Internet Gateways.
  • 1990. The ARPANET was retired in 1990. Most university computers that were connected to it were moved to networks connected to the NSFNET, passing the torch from the old network to the new.

Works Cited

Crocker, Stephan D. "ARAPNET - First Internet." Living Internet. 26 Feb. 2006 <>.

Gauntlett, David & Horsley, Ross (2004). Web Studies. Second Edition. Unites States of America: Oxford UP.

Kirstein, Peter. "Early Experiences with the ARPANET and INTERNET." University College London. <>.

Larose, Robert, and Joseph Straubhaar. Media Now: Understanding Media, Culture, and Technology. 4th ed. Belmont: Wadsworth/Thompson Learning, Inc., 2004. 230-233.

Markoff, John. "An Internet Pioneer Ponders the Next Revolution." New York Times on the Web. 20 Dec. 1999. New York Times. 26 Feb. 2006 <>.

Stewart, Bill. "ARPANET - First Internet." The Living Internet. 26 Feb. 2006 <>.

Please note that this page takes most of its text, with some integration and changes, from last year's ccit205 page. It was done by the writer of the bulk of that page (Phil) and meant at the time to replace the previous, factually incorrect page with more correct and comprehensive information from what was considered an already complete source in the matter, rather than to plagurise. This page in its current form should _not_ be considered an original work, nor is it or was it ever listed on an Analysis and Reflection page. Anyone who wishes to change this information, find more sources, or otherwise make it a 'new' original page is more than welcome to do so. That said, an author who wishes to make a new page would do well to reference the old one in summary, as it includes a great deal of useful information.